Sudden Death Fight to the Finish

By November 19, 2003, 5:00 pm
The Big BreakEditor's Note: The Golf Channel aired the seventh episode of its original series, The Big Break, Tuesday in which a group of scratch golfers vie in a weekly showdown of golf skills challenges. Each week one contestant will be eliminated until there is just one man left standing on the tee box. That lucky winner will get the Big Break of his golfing career - exemptions into four Canadian Tour events airing on The Golf Channel in 2004.
 
With the group of contestants now cut in half, the players began to realize that they had to start depending on good golf shots, and not so much on luck, in order to survive. But what they didnt know was what type of challenges the day had in store. And that for two players, sudden death was knocking on the door to elimination.
 
I feel like Ive got a pretty well-rounded game. My strength is my mind, but were in survival mode; youre just trying to survive, noted Justin Peters. Youve got to be patient though, but I know if I hit the shots Im capable of then Im going to be hard to beat.
 
In the skills challenge, Golf Channel Troubleshooter Rick Smith informed the players what theyve been waiting to hear all along ' that the mulligan they would be playing for was to be won by playing actual golf. Each player would play a par-5, tee to green, with the lowest score winning the mulligan and an Golden Tee video game.
 
Randy Block swingThe tee shots were mixed, with one (Mark Farnham) finding trees on the left, one (Randy Block) finding a fairway bunker, another (Craig Pawling) landing in the left rough and two (Justin Peters and Anthony Sorentino) landing safely in the fairway. Eagle was possible, but as the players reached the green birdie looked to be the score to beat. Farnham, Pawling and Sorentino were out after their up and down attempts failed to produce nothing below par. So it was down to Block and Peters, with Block having a 15-footer for birdie and Peters, whose chip nestled up to within five feet, also putting for birdie.
 
Block drained his long putt and then watched as Peters slide his by the hole, giving Block the mulligan and the video game.
 
Randy dropped a solid putt right in the center and I got up there and missed, said Peters about failing to win the prize. Its just the game of golf. Sometimes you think youre in the drivers seat and things just turn real quick.
 
With the fun skills challenge over and the elimination challenge now at hand, we were soon to discover how the players would perform by scrambling from tough situations -- combining both good decision making and good golf shots.
 
Each golfer was to play out a hole from two different trouble positions -- each around 75 yards from the pin. The player with the highest cumulative score from both holes was going home.
 
The first shot required the player to either go over a large tree or use a punch shot that flew below the branches. The second shot made the player choose which way to go around a tree to a pin tucked just over a bunker fronting the green.
 
On the first hole, Pawling, who elected to use the punch shot, failed in judging the distance as his ball missed the branches but wound up short and in the rough. His effort to get up and down also failed and he took a 4 on the hole.
 
Blocks wedge over the tree resulted in a short putt for a 2, and the lead, going into the second and last hole.
 
This time it was Farnham who found trouble as he scrambled to make a 4, just as Pawling nailed a putt for a 3 that would pit the two in a sudden death playoff.
 
Peters, Block and Sorentino were all safely onto the next show.
 
All you could do was watch, but your rooting for both of them as you know one of them is going home, said Peters about the sudden-death scenario. You just hope it ends the way it should end ' with a good golf shot.
 
On the first playoff hole, Farnham came through with a clutch up-and-down to equal Pawlings score of 3 and force a second playoff hole.
 
Mark Farnham putts to avoid eliminationBoth players were still off the green after their first shot, though, Pawling was in a much better position than Farnham. Farnham, however, hit a beautiful flop shot from a tight, downhill lie that stopped about eight feet from the hole. Pawlings ensuing chip rolled up to two-and-a-half feet and put the pressure squarely back on Farnham.
 
Farnhams putt slid agonizingly close by the cup and Pawling drained his knee-knocker to finally oust Farnham and move on the next episode.
 
I am so pleased. Craig had to make a shot to beat me, said the departing Farnham, who was the shows resident clown. I hung in around with 10 of the best, undiscovered golfers in the country for seven shows. I am really pleased that I gave it my absolute best shot!
 
Tune in next Tuesday at 9:00PM (ET) as its finally down to the final four. The elimination challenge will get emotions running high as it will pit strength against strength.
 
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    Kelly beats Monty with two-shot swing on final hole

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 3:21 am

    KAILUA-KONA, Hawaii – Jerry Kelly made an 18-foot birdie putt on the final hole, Colin Montgomerie missed a 6-footer for par and Kelly turned a one-shot deficit into a victory Saturday in the Mitsubishi Electric Championship, the season opener on the PGA Tour Champions.

    After Kelly drove it well right into lava rocks on the par-4 16th, leading to bogey and giving Montgomerie the lead, Montgomerie made a mistake with his tee shot on the last, finding a fairway bunker. Montgomerie's approach went over the green and after Kelly converted his birdie, the 54-year-old Scot jammed his par putt well past the hole.


    Full-field scores from the Mitsubishi Electric Championship


    It was the third win on the over-50 tour for the 51-year-old Kelly, who finished tied for 14th last week at the PGA Tour's Sony Open in Honolulu. That gave him confidence as he hopped over to the Big Island for his tournament debut at Hualalai. The limited-field event includes winners from last season, past champions of the event, major champions and Hall of Famers.

    Kelly closed with a 6-under 66 for a three-day total of 18-under 198. Montgomerie shot 69. David Toms shot 67 and finished two shots back, and Miguel Angel Jimenez was another stroke behind after a 66.

    Bernhard Langer, defending the first of his seven 2017 titles, closed with a 70 to finish at 10 under.

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    Rahm manages frustration, two back at CareerBuilder

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 1:21 am

    Jon Rahm managed the winds and his frustrations Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge to give himself a chance to win his fourth worldwide title in the last year.

    Rahm’s 2-under-par 70 on the PGA West Stadium Course left him two shots off the lead going into the final round.

    “I wasn’t really dealing with the wind that much,” Rahm said of his frustrations. “I was dealing with not being as fluid as I was the last two days.”


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The world’s No. 3 ranked player opened with a 62 at La Quinta Country Club on Thursday and followed it up with a 67 on Friday at PGA West. He made six birdies and four bogeys on the Stadium Course on Saturday.

    “The first day, everything was outstanding,” Rahm said. “Yesterday, my driver was a little shaky but my irons shots were perfect. Today, my driver was shaky and my irons shots were shaky. On a course like this, it’s punishing, but luckily on the holes where I found the fairway I was able to make birdies.”

    Rahm is projected to move to No. 2 in the world rankings with a finish of sixth or better on Sunday.

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    Cook leads by one entering final round at CareerBuilder

    By Associated PressJanuary 21, 2018, 12:51 am

    LA QUINTA, Calif. – Austin Cook hit a hybrid into the fairway bunker on the par-4 18th on a breezy Saturday afternoon at La Quinta Country Club, then chunked a wedge and raced a chip 20 feet past the hole.

    Kip Henley, the longtime PGA Tour caddie who guided Cook to a breakthrough victory at Sea Island in November, stepped in to give the 26-year-old former Arkansas star a quick pep talk.

    ''Kip said, 'Let's finish this like we did on the first day at the Nicklaus Course.' We made a big par putt on 18 there and he said, 'Let's just do the same thing. Let's get this line right and if you get the line right it's going in.'''

    It did, giving Cook an 8-under 64 and a one-stroke lead in the CareerBuilder Challenge going into the final round on the Stadium Course at PGA West. Fellow former Razorback Andrew Landry and Martin Piller were tied for second, and Jon Rahm and Scott Piercy were a another stroke back after a tricky day in wind that didn't get close to the predicted gusts of 40 mph.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    ''I know that I wouldn't have wanted to play the Stadium today,'' Cook said. ''I think we got a great draw with the courses that we got to play on the days that we got to play them.''

    Cook played the final six holes on the front nine in 6 under with an eagle and four birdies.

    ''Starting on my fourth hole, I was able to make a birdie and kind of get the ball rolling and it never really stopped rolling,'' Cook said. ''Kip and I were doing really good at seeing the line on the greens.''

    After a bogey on 10, he birdied 11, 12 and 15 and parred the final three to get to 19-under 197.

    ''I think that tonight the nerves, the butterflies, all that will kind of be a little less,'' Cook said. ''I've been in the situation before and I was able to finish the job on Sunday. I think it would be a little different if I didn't play like I did on Sunday at Sea Island.''

    He's making his first start in the event.

    ''I came in from Hawaii on Monday, so I only had two days to prepare for three courses,'' Cook said.

    Landry, the second-round leader, had a 70 at the Stadium. Piller, the husband of LPGA tour player Gerina Piller, shot a 67 at La Quinta. Winless on the PGA Tour, they will join Cook in the final threesome.

    ''Piller's a good guy and we have played a lot together and same with Cookie,'' said Landry, the only player without a bogey after 54 holes. ''Hope the Hogs are going to come out on top.''

    Rahm had a 70 at the Stadium to reach 17 under. The third-ranked Rahm beat up the par 5s again, but had four bogeys – three on par 3s. He has played the 12 par 5s in 13 under with an eagle and 11 birdies.

    ''A little bit of a survival day,'' Rahm said.

    The wind was more of a factor on the more exposed and tighter Stadium Course.

    ''The course is firming up,'' Rahm said. ''I know if we have similar wind to today, if we shoot something under par, you'll be way up there contesting it over the last few holes.''

    Piercy had a 66 at the Stadium.

    ''I controlled my ball really well today,'' he said.

    Adam Hadwin had a 67 at La Quinta a year after shooting a third-round 59 on the course. The Canadian was 16 under along with Grayson Murray and Brandon Harkins. Murray had a 67 on the Nicklaus Course, and Harkins shot 68 at the Stadium.

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut in his first tournament of the year for the second time in his career, shooting a 74 on the Stadium to finish at 4 under – four strokes from a Sunday tee time. The 47-year-old Hall of Famer was playing for the first time since late October. He also missed the cut in the Phoenix Open in his 2009 opener.

    Charlie Reiter, the Palm Desert High School senior playing on the first sponsor exemption the event has given to an amateur, also missed the cut. He had three early straight double bogeys in a 77 on the Stadium that left him 1 over.

    John Daly had an 80 at La Quinta. He opened with a triple bogey and had six bogeys – four in a row to start his second nine - and only one birdie. The 51-year-old Daly opened with a 69 on the Nicklaus layout and had a 71 on Friday at the Stadium.

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    Phil misses CareerBuilder cut for first time in 24 years

    By Randall MellJanuary 21, 2018, 12:48 am

    Phil Mickelson missed the cut Saturday at the CareerBuilder Challenge. It’s a rare occurrence in his Hall of Fame career.

    He has played the event 15 times, going back to when it was known as the Bob Hope Classic. He has won it twice.

    How rare is his missing the cut there?

    The last time he did so, there was no such thing as a DVD, Wi-Fi, iPods, Xbox, DVR capability or YouTube.


    Full-field scores from the Career Builder Challenge

    CareerBuilder Challenge: Articles, photos and videos


    The PGA Tour’s Jon Rahm didn’t exist, either.

    The last time Mickelson missed a cut in this event was 1994, nine months before Rahm was born.

    Mickelson struggled to a 2-over-par 74 in the heavy winds Saturday on the PGA West Stadium Course, missing the 54-hole cut by four shots. He hit just four of 14 fairways, just nine of 18 greens. He took a double bogey at the 15th after requiring two shots to escape the steep-walled bunker on the left side of the green.

    Mickelson won’t have to wait long to try to get back in the hunt. He’s scheduled to play the Farmers Insurance Open next week at Torrey Pines in La Jolla, Calif.